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59.7% Finds FTA Beneficial

Posted June. 02, 2008 03:00,   


It turns out that only one out of five Koreans (22.9 percent) think President Lee Myung-bak was doing “well,” in contrast to three out of five (67.1 percent) who said he was doing “bad.”

The Dong-A Ilbo and the Korea Research Center jointly conducted a public survey of 1,000 adults nationwide on May 31, three days before the 100-day mark since Lee’s inauguration. The results show that public support for Lee’s performance more than halved from two months ago, which stood then at 52.7 percent.

On a 100-point scale, Lee’s performance scored 47.5 points on average. His best achievement so far was “reform measures in the public sector, including state-owned enterprises (19.6 percent)”, closely followed by “the economic stimulus package (16.7 percent)” and “strengthened diplomatic relations with the United States and other neighboring countries (11.8 percent).” His worst blunder was predictably “the U.S. beef import negotiation (43.6 percent),” with the second and third being “inflation and economic slowdown (22.3 percent)” and “wrong choices of Cabinet members and presidential aides (13.6 percent).”

Regarding the prospect of the remainder of Lee’s term, optimists, who believe that Lee will do better in the future than now, outnumbered pessimists, who think his performance will get worse, by a factor of four (46.1 percent versus 11.8 percent).

The biggest stumbling block to smooth administration for the current government was “the way Lee runs national affairs,” according to 35.9 percent of the survey takers, while 22.8 percent picked “inadequacies of the Cabinet members and presidential aides” and 22.5 percent “negative attitudes of the opposition parties.”

With regard to how to solve the U.S. beef import issue, the majority (61.4 percent) answered full-scale renegotiation is necessary despite the possibility of some diplomatic disadvantages, while only 34.9 percent said the issue is better to be resolved through strengthened import inspection since renegotiation is practically impossible in a diplomatic sense. In the same vein, those who favored the candlelight vigils to oppose resumption of beef imports from the United States was more than double in number (63.6 percent) than those who were against it (29.8 percent).

On the other hand, more respondents expected the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to be beneficial (59.7 percent) to Korea than those who said it would be harmful to the country (32.4 percent).

Popularity of political parties were as follows: 36.5 percent for the ruling Grand National Party, 16.8 percent for the main opposition United Democratic Party, 8.5 percent for the Pro-Park Alliance, 8.4 percent for the Democratic Labor Party, 5.3 percent for the Creative Korea Party, 4.1 percent for the Liberal Forward Party and 3.6 percent for the New Progressive Party.